Virginia House Bill HB 2377



Animals as Prizes and Gifts

B. It is unlawful to raffle, give away, offer for sale as a novelty, or offer or give as a prize, premium, or advertising device any animal as defined in 3.2-6500


Animals does not include Fish.



1.  This proposed bill has been written and is sponsored by iguana and rabbit owners.  We are asking all animal groups and owners to support us in our effort to get these animals off the midway.

2.  The bill will in no way prevent the sale of iguanas, turtles, anoles, rabbits, etc in pet stores.  The prohibition on sale is included in this bill because of the consistent reaction of the midway vendor to being told that he cannot give the animal as a prize.  He then will sell the animal for a quarter or award the critter keeper and sell the animal for $1.00.

3.  Fish are not included in this bill as they are not animals by the Virginia Code definition of animals.

4.  Vendors giving rabbits as prizes are required to have a USDA permit, but where is the USDA on the weekends?

5.  This bill will allow local police to shut the game down.  Local police are almost always at the fair because of the size of the crowds.

6.  The 2 inch turtles found at some midway games are banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, but try getting them to weekend fair.

7.  There are laws in the Virginia Code that pertain to the midway freezing iguanas on an October evening or overheating rabbits on an August afternoon, but our local police department is not always trained in the care of exotic animals.

8.  Iguanas are the most used carnival prize and iguanas from Virginia are part of the growing feral population in southern Florida.  The Iguana is one of the most unwanted pets as an adult.  It is illegal in Virginia and Florida to release these exotic animals, but the problem is that there are not enough rescue agencies to take the animals.

9.  Rabbits have established a feral population in at least one Virginia area.  Giving animals as prizes reinforces the idea that they are throw away animals.

10.  These games attract children and there are always a number of animals that are accidentally released into the wild.

11.  Giving animals as prizes on the midway is not the same as selling animals in the pet stores.  A game can award up to 6 or more animals in an hour.  After the midway leaves town, pet stores, rescue agencies and neighbors are swamped with calls to adopt the unwanted animals.  Contrary to popular opinion, not every pet store has the resources to deal with a large number of sick animals.  Pet stores and rescue agencies have reported that many of these animals die despite efforts to save them.

12.  Iguanas, turtles, anoles and rabbits are banned from military housing, and many apartments and town homes.  These animals should not be bought on an impulse.

13.  Iguanas and turtles can be a salmonella risk, especially to children with cotton candy and other food.  Salmonella is completely preventable, but recent events at fairs prove that children do not wash their hands before eating at the fairs. 

14.  Iguanas are NOT starter reptiles and they are NOT children's pets.  Adult iguanas grow to 4 to 6 feet and they have a razor sharp set of teeth.


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This game with
iguanas as prizes
was at fairs in
Fort Bragg NC
Virginia Beach, VA,
Prince William County VA
and Howard County MD

The game on the right
has anoles are prizes
at the Chesterfield
County Fair in Virginia.